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Another record year for ticks is expected
Mild winters and hot summers - ideal breeding conditions for ticks. Experts explain what to look for when staying in the country in order to minimize the risk of illness associated with the tick stick.
They suck blood and can transmit diseases: This year a particularly large number of ticks are on the move. How do you react when one is in the skin? And how do you protect yourself? Five tips on how to react to a find, recognize symptoms - and prevent them.
1. Search after every stay in the country
After an excursion into the countryside, this year you should search for ticks particularly well. The German Red Cross (DRK) points out the particularly high danger that blood suckers pose this summer: Because of the mild winter, there are more ticks than in previous years.
They like to hide on the armpits, in the hollow of the knees, in the pubic area, on the navel, in the folds of the abdomen and behind the ears. The Center for Travel Medicine (CRM) advises that this is particularly thorough.
2. Remove the tick
Anyone who discovers a tick on the body should quickly remove it. According to CRM, this can reduce the risk of illness. It is best to use tweezers, tick cards or tick tongs for this, advises the German Red Cross (DRK). Pull out the tick slowly and vertically and avoid twisting movements so that the head is not torn off and the body of the animal is not crushed - otherwise pathogens can get into the wound.
Household remedies such as oil, glue, nail polish or petrol are better avoided. The tick could even give off possibly infected secretions. At the end, disinfect the puncture site and provide it with a rapid wound dressing. Kill the tick.
3. Watch the puncture site
The first symptoms often appear two to three weeks later. If a red circle forms around the injection site, this can be a sign of Lyme disease, according to the DRK. This disease is more common than early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). The symptoms of both diseases are comparable to flu: fever, headache and body aches often appear. Then those affected should definitely go to the doctor.
4. Vaccination in risk areas
There is vaccination against TBE. The Standing Vaccination Committee (Stiko) at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends people who are in high-risk areas. Reliable protection exists after three partial immunizations - the first two of which are spread over one to three months. The third follows after another nine to twelve months. This basic immunization lasts for at least three years. Then you should have them refreshed regularly - depending on your age, every three to five years, the CRM advises.
5. Avoid undergrowth and tall grass
To avoid getting stung, you should avoid dense undergrowth and tall grass. Long trousers and closed shoes are advisable for walks in the forest. Tick-protecting agents for rubbing in or spraying on can also keep blood suckers away from the body. (vb; source dpa / tmn)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- Center for travel medicine: When exercising outdoors: Pay attention to tick protection (published: 06.04.2020), crm.de
- RKI: Epidemiological Bulletin 8/2020: TBE - risk areas in Germany (published: 20.02.2020), rki.de